It should have been a bad day. Ivy had a pretty unsettled night and I was up and down with her between 2:30 to 4:30am. Then just as I was finally drifting off into a peaceful slumber, footsteps pattered up the hallway and Eli came to tell us there was snot on his pillow.
We have all contracted a flu-like virus and noses are running like taps (when they aren’t completely blocked). Eli looked like the walking dead all day and even tucked himself into bed after lunch and took a nap. Dave and I fluctuated between achy, fuzzy and dizzy and gravitated towards any horizontal surface as often as the situation would allow it.
It was Brace Day. We stumbled our way through breakfast and barely got the kids ready in time for Grandma to pick them up. Ivy fell asleep just before we were due out the door and both of our phones’ data mysteriously ceased working. Then we were on the road.
The hospital was almost comforting this time. I pushed the pram with purpose towards the Outpatient clinic but paused to notice the inspirational quotes painted on walls and carved into stained glass windows. Dave joined me after securing a park, then we were called in. No two hour wait this time! As the physio spoke the words “she will need a brace”, I experienced none of the panic and shock of last time. Ivy didn’t even utter a cry as the brace was fitted and we must have been doing OK too because the physio labelled us the ‘most relaxed brace parents’ she had ever dealt with.
We made our way to the café and ordered long macchiatos and a brownie to share in the hospital cafe courtyard. I fumbled my way through feeding Ivy, getting used to the rigid feel of the brace again. We exhaled and took it all in- the pain, the break, the beauty. Without the constant interruption of preschooler demands and questions we were able to chat meaningfully about the things that inspired us- the books, the podcasts, the experiences. When the last drop and crumb were consumed, we reflected it had been one of our best ‘dates’ in a long time… at a rickety metal table amongst pigeons, with takeaway coffee from a hospital cafe.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Rob Bell podcasts (aka ‘Robcasts’) lately. I joked to Dave that often in our marriage it will go like this:
Dave: “Hey Emma, you should read this book/try this idea/listen to this podcast!”
Emma: “Ummm, no thanks, not interested- that doesn’t sound like my thing.”
Emma: “Wow, this book/idea/podcast is amazing! Why haven’t I been into this before!?”
He takes the constant rejection really well, considering! And I am, believe it or not, beginning to learn from my mistakes and the period of time between completely dismissing the idea and adopting it as my own has shortened considerably. Anyway, I’ve come from thinking Rob Bell was a complete sell-out and a airy fairy New Age guru to thinking he has some pretty profound thoughts about life and the ‘ordinary’ things that we completely take for granted. Didn’t hurt that my ‘old man crush’ Richard Rohr is kind of like Bell’s mentor and was touring with him earlier this year. Bell takes things as simple as a supermarket receipt and makes the idea of grocery shopping sound meaningful rather than mundane. His outlook has been helping me a lot, changing my perspective towards the more ordinary things in life as a mother.
I’ve also been reading Shauna Niequist’s book “Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes”. The introduction of the book was right up my alley with her vividly painted picture of how food connects, entwines and nourishes people, and sets the stage for so many meaningful interactions in community. It encouraged me that my passion for food can be something I continue to pursue and prioritise right now, in the midst of our crazy ‘three kids under four’ life- with more ‘crazy hour’ dinners and neighbourhood barbeques like the one we had last Sunday. It made me appreciate again how crucial Tribe’s lunch gatherings are to connecting people and convicted me that perhaps we should be trying to do mealtimes for House Church as well (despite how chaotic, messy and insane that will be with no less than 19 kids in that mix!).
It is quite probable, with my ‘task and details oriented’ nature, that I am at risk of failing to pursue my passions and dreams by focusing purely on the day to day activities and keeping the family cogs turning. Being a mother is one of the most meaningful things in the world, but I think it would actually be detrimental to my kids if I allowed it alone to completely consume me. At the moment I’m cautiously dipping a toe into the water and testing out what my passions and dreams might be. At this stage, all I know is that I feel alive when dealing with food, planning parties, reading and writing this blog. Quite ordinary things on the surface, but who knows where they might lead? I’m heading down the Rabbit Hole!